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Humble Hero

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    Caiaphas Almost Convinced

    The thought that all would stand at the judgment bar of God, to be rewarded according to their works, terrified Caiaphas. The scenes of the final judgment rushed into his mind. For a moment he saw the graves giving up their dead, with the secrets he had hoped were forever hidden. He felt as if the eternal Judge was reading his heart, bringing to view mysteries supposed to be hidden with the dead.HH 325.6

    Caiaphas had denied the resurrection, the judgment, and a future life. Now a satanic fury maddened him. Tearing his robe, he demanded that the counsel condemn the prisoner for blasphemy. “What further need do we have of witnesses?” he said. “Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think?” And they all condemned Him.HH 325.7

    Caiaphas was furious with himself for believing Christ’s words, and instead of having his heart broken and confessing that Jesus was the Messiah, he tore his priestly robes in determined resistance. This act was deeply significant. He did it to secure Christ’s condemnation, but in doing so, the high priest had condemned himself. By the law of God, he was disqualified for the priesthood. He had pronounced on himself the death sentence.HH 325.8

    A high priest was not to tear his garments. By the Levitical law, under no circumstances was the priest to tear his robe. Christ had expressly commanded Moses concerning this. See Leviticus 10:6. Finite man might rend his own heart by showing a contrite and humble spirit. But no one must tear the priestly robes, for this would mar the representation of heavenly things. The high priest who dared to engage in the service of the sanctuary with a torn robe was considered to have cut himself off from God. Caiaphas’s action showed human passion, human imperfection.HH 326.1

    By tearing his garments, Caiaphas made the law of God of no effect and followed human traditions. A manmade law provided that in case of blasphemy a priest might tear his garments in horror at the sin and not be guilty. In this way the law of God was set aside by human laws. But in this act, Caiaphas himself was committing blasphemy.HH 326.2

    When Caiaphas tore his garment, his act signified the place the Jewish nation would occupy toward God after this. The Jewish people had rejected Him who was the fulfillment of all their symbols, the substance of all their shadows. Israel was divorced from God. Well might the high priest tear his robes in horror for himself and for the nation.HH 326.3

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